Wednesday, 20 July 2011


“Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.” - Benjamin Franklin

When the people closest to us are absent our lives suddenly become quite different. We become aware not only of the glaring lack of their presence, but also of the countless ways that these people contribute to our everyday existence and make our lives special. The longer the absence the more miserable we become, yearning for the return of the objects of our affections. When a lover is absent and at a great distance the heart languishes and the acuteness of the lack of one’s partner resembles a physical illness. We miss our other half as if it were torn asunder and the edge of us is raw and wounded.

Here is a poem I wrote while in this very situation. Absence of the beloved increases our sensitivities and our feelings are so much more attuned to pain than joy. In the nearness of our beloved our hearts have wings and they fly high to heaven, while in our beloved’s absence, the heart limps and needs the crutch of poetry and sad song.

At a Distance

While you are away, the distance between us
Amplifies the remembrance of your recent vicinity,
And makes me yearn for your presence
In increasing quanta of desire.

Your news still reaches me and your voice
May sound in my mind, in honeyed tones,
But your touch is what I most need;
The proximity of skin to skin.

The image of your smiling face is ever fresh
As I look at your sunlit photograph,
But what I most long for is the sparkle of your eyes
As you look at me within a breath’s distance.

Your clothes, empty shells, hang limply
In the deserted wardrobe and play with my longing.
I smell, but all I detect is freshly laundered odours,
When I would delight in the perfume of your warm flesh.

My heart beats and marks time while you are away,
It beats no stronger or more quickly, until you are near;
What I wish for is that soon it will beat in synchrony
With yours, as we lie together breast to breast.

Your absence fills my world with emptiness,
The distance between us an infinity unbridged;
On your return my empty soul will be charged,
And your nearness, the panacea for my every illness.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful poem, Nicholas, with wonderful images, as usual...